Series review: Meta Thai series 'Lovely Writer' challenges stereotypes, tropes in BL genre

Josiah Antonio, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 14 2021 05:40 PM | Updated as of May 14 2021 08:19 PM

Series review: Meta Thai series 'Lovely Writer' challenges stereotypes, tropes in BL genre 1
Nubsib (Kao Noppakao, left) plays the piano beside Gene (Up Poompat, right) in the finale episode of the Thai boys' love series "Lovely Writer." Screenshot

This article contains spoilers of "Lovely Writer."

MANILA — The recently concluded Thai series “Lovely Writer” has challenged various tropes and stereotypes in the boys’ love genre with its meta approach.

First aired on the local network Channel 3, the series revolves around the author Gene (Up Poompat) and his journey to finish writing yet another BL novel. 

In his writing process, Gene draws inspiration from actor Nubsib (Kao Noppakao), the protagonist of the TV adaptation of his latest hit novel, “Bad Engineer.”

Nubsib and Gene’s bond in the production process and glimpses to the past will shed light on how the BL genre has come along, and in what direction should it go moving forward.

It was not afraid to come for all the hit BL series to date with its meta flare and has shown various tropes in the genre, like having engineering characters mimicking series like “Sotus,” gender roles, and even recreating classics like Romeo and Juliet, making it reminiscent to Noppakao’s iconic first sequence in hit BL series "Until We Meet Again" to some fans.

The show has also addressed how gender stereotypes come into play in terms of casting BL roles. It expects certain gender roles of being masculine and dominant, while the latter should be feminine and submissive, even attempting to intervene with Aoey's (Bruce Sirikorn) love life and sexuality. 

However, the main couple’s fluidly has challenged that norm, stressing that gender roles should not be imposed as depicted in the media. 

Bold statements were also made, like how producers tend to overrule the story’s independence with product placements dominantly targeting women. 

For example, both Gene and Nubsib’s parents were giggly with the BL genre, but they were hesitant when they figured out their sons are in a romantic relationship. The former's friend from school was a huge fan of the BL genre, but was not vocal in defending his friend’s sexuality around heterosexual men. 

It has criticized how fans have crossed the line with the personal lives of BL artists. Gene and Nubsib’s relationship went on hiatus as fans have targeted the former through trial by publicity. 

This depicts how the current landscape of the genre is not healthy on both sides. It has brought people to a fantasy where even private matters of the artists are even directed by the public.

The series had a brilliant premise to show how the creative process works through the characters of Gene, Hin (Kenji Wasin), and their boss Bua.

The boss emphasized how nonchalant scenes have become a big factor in making BL a hit, but the series challenged it through caricature. 

However, throughout the writing process, Gene was firm to narrate an anti-thesis to his new novel with his relationship with Nubsib, eventually convincing their boss to do it. 

Gene’s ties with his father, who had a romantic relationship with a guy before meeting his wife, led him to his firm stance and hopes of changing the narrative of queer people in the BL genre.

The series hopes to follow the footsteps of Bua embracing the changes in the genre, and Gene's decisiveness and the queer community to navigate their own story.

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